“Singh judges to perfection the level of detail needed to grasp the magnitude of Wiles’s achievement – the fascination of pure mathematics has never been more effectively conveyed to the general readership.”
“Number theory is one of the most abstruse parts of mathematics. But Simon Singh succeeds in telling perhaps its most famous story. Without technicalities, he gets across the intellectual excitement of the chase to crack Fermat’s last theorem. This is remarkable if you consider that only a handful of mathematicians understood all the techniques that Andrew Wiles, a British mathematician, used to solve the puzzle, 360 years or so after Pierre de Fermat had scribbled in a book margin that he had an ingenious proof. Mr Singh traces previous attempts to prove the conjecture, leading up to Mr Wiles’s eight-year near-solitary assault, while introducing number theory’s elegant mysteries and neatly sketching the lives of some of its best practitioners.”
“Singh has written a compelling account of the human achievement. Death, suicides, a duel over a woman, they’re all here – along with the agonising story of how Wiles discovered that his celebrated ‘proof’ was faulty, and how he struggled to find the correct solution that would save his tarnished reputation.”
“This is probably the best popular account of a scientific topic I have ever read.”
“It is a magnificent story, one told with infectious enthusiasm. If you enjoyed Dava Sobel’s Longitude, you will enjoy this.”
“This is an unambiguously terrific book. There are enough mind-boggling stories in here to inspire three good novels, and it can be understood by anyone with a grade C or better in maths O-level. A qualification, I hardly need add, that Pierre de Fermat himself did not even posses.”
“To read it [Fermat's Last Theorem] is to realise that there is a world of beauty and intellectual challenge that is denied to 99.9 per cent of us who are not high-level mathematicians. For opening the window to that world even partially, Singh deserves congratulation.”
“Singh is a populariser of enormous talent, evincing infectious passion for the subject. His approach to the historical pedigree of the problem is novelistically readable, but a tasty clutch of appendices enable the adventurous reader to get to grips with important concepts in induction, game theory, topology and the foundations of arithmetic.”
Far from being a dry textbook it reads like the chronicle of an obsessive love affair. It has the classic ingredients that Hollywood would recognise.
The Daily Mail
Vividly recounted…I strongly recommend this book to anyone wishing to catch a glimpse of what is one of the most important and ill-understood, but oldest, cultural activities of humanity…an excellent and very worthwhile account of one of the most dramatic and moving events of the century.
The New York Times Book Review
How great a riddle was Fermat’s last theorem? The exploration of space, the splitting of the atom, the discovery of DNA–unthinkable in Fermat’s time–all were achieved while his Pythagorean proof still remained elusive…Though [Singh] may not ask us to bring too much algebra to the table, he does expect us to appreciate a good detective story.
The Boston Sunday Globe
It is hard to imagine a more informative or gripping account of…this centuries-long drama of ingenious failures, crushed hopes, fatal duels, and suicides.
The Wall Street Journal
[Singh] writes with graceful knowledgeability of the esoteric and esthetic appeal of mathematics through the ages, and especially of the mystifying behavior of numbers.
The New York Times
[Singh] has done an admirable job with an extremely difficult subject. He has also done mathematics a great service by conveying the passion and drama that have carried Fermat’s Last Theorem aloft as the most celebrated mathematics problem of the last four centuries.
American Mathematical Society
The amazing achievement of Singh’s book is that it actually makes the logic of the modern proof understandable to the nonspecialist…More important, Singh shows why it is significant that this problem should have been solved.
The Christian Science Monitor